Cremation rate rises faster than forecast!

The annual National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) Cremation & Burial report has been released, and the data forecasts that the cremation rate is rising faster than originally predicted.

The cremation rate was originally predicted to reach 75% by 2035, now it appears the cremation rate is more likely to reach 80% by 2035.  This forecast has implications for the funeral business as a whole, when within the last 10 years, the cremation rate has risen exponentially affecting a funeral home’s gross annual revenue.

Cremation rates in the US between 1960-2035

Credit: Statista.com

Why is the cremation rate rising so fast?

The rise in cremation is largely being driven by consumer demand for more affordable, flexible and simple funeral alternatives.  This new market of baby boomers, families living paycheck to paycheck, and consumers moving away from conventional rituals is leading a shift towards cremation services.

Comparing Cremation PricesCremation is more affordable.  The average cremation service is likely to be half to a third of the cost of a burial service.  A casket is not required, especially if a cremation memorial or direct cremation is performed.

Some funeral homes are even offering rental caskets now for the purpose of conducting a cremation funeral.  This can save $500 – $1,500 on funeral costs alone.

There is no immediate need for a cemetery plot or burial vault, both of which can add $2,000+ to the overall cost of conducting a burial service.  Embalming is not required for a cremation, so this is another general cost eliminated from the total funeral bill.  Embalming can cost anywhere between $500 – $1,000.

So, as you can quickly surmise, cremation can present an immediate saving on funeral costs of approximately $4,000.

Cremation rates across the United States

Although the cremation rate this year is forecast to be around 53%, the cremation rate still varies across the nation.  The states with the highest cremation rate (over 70%) are Hawaii, Maine, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.  These are now being fast followed by states such as Arizona, California, Florida, and New Mexico.

The cremation rate is lower among the Midwest states and the southern states, although these states that had traditionally had a much lower interest in cremation, are reporting a more significant increase in their cremation rates.

An industry in change: funeral homes adapting to a new market

The funeral industry has long been a very traditional and stoic industry.  Some critics would describe it as a slow to respond to change.  However, there are funeral companies that are now specifically catering to the growing demand for cremation services.

Service Corporation International (SCI) has reduced its base cremation price in recent months, and begun a marketing campaign aimed at cremation customers.  SCI also bought 70% shares in The Neptune Society in 2011, a direct cremation company, operate a very active cremation plan direct marketing campaign, and have increased the number of Neptune Society locations in the last 5 years.

The average independent funeral home has maybe found this market shift to cremation more challenging to respond to.  A cremation service has a lower price value.  In the case of direct cremation, very minimal input is required by a funeral director, as no ceremony is provided by the funeral home.  With no casket, no funeral service, and a simple cremation service….a funeral home is looking at a significant drop in revenues!

Comparing cremation prices

Arrange a cremation onlineIt seems todays’ potential cremation consumer has become savvier, and more concerned, with comparing the costs for cremation.  Funeral homes are having to respond to this demand for transparent cremation pricing by openly disclosing cremation prices, either online or over the phone.  More funeral homes are choosing to openly offer their general price list (GPL) and cremation package pricing on their websites.  California even now legally requires a funeral home to disclose their GPL on their website.

A number of online platforms and websites have emerged aimed at providing cremation cost comparison services over the last few years.  However, a consumer must consider the subjectivity of the information provided.   Websites like Heritage Cremation and Legacy Cremation advertise a cremation service nationwide between $695 – $1,395, but do not provide a specific price for an area.  Other websites have gathered GPL’s from a range of funeral homes in an area, but may not include ALL funeral homes in an area, and require a visitor to search through funeral home after funeral home to compare pricing.  Or require a fee for a pricing report, or to submit your personal contact information to obtain a cremation price.

Some funeral home websites provide their own funeral pricing comparison charts for their own market, but may choose to omit any local providers offering a lower price than them.

DFS Memorials aims to help you quickly identify a local, independent cremation provider and provide you with his direct cremation service charge.  So, at your time of need, you do not have to become overwhelmed comparing cremation prices.  Cremation providers selected for the network all offer a ‘best value’ direct cremation package to their local community.

Arranging an affordable funeral service in Atlanta

Can you afford to die?

The cost of dying in Georgia today is causing many families to have to explore different alternatives to the traditional funeral service.  A full traditional funeral service in Atlanta can cost as much as $10,000, when you add in all the costs for funeral merchandise and cemetery costs.

This can simply be more than many families can afford.  CNN Money reported this week that 76% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.  Frightening isn’t it – to think that every day families in Atlanta are faced with the death of a loved one and NO resources to pay for funeral expenses!

A traditional funeral service in decline?

Burial is still a deep-seated tradition in Georgia but this is changing.  Cultural attitudes to death rituals and the significance of religious tradition is a part of this change.  But also, cost is now playing a big factor in why people are changing their attitude towards funerals in Atlanta.

There are now more affordable funeral options for families, and funeral homes in Atlanta who are catering to the demand for cheap funerals.  The price of caskets has come down since more online casket sellers emerged and especially since Walmart and CostCo starting selling them for under $1,000.

Our DFS Memorials provider for Atlanta offers families a complete affordable funeral service for $3,635, which includes a casket and all the basics of a arranging a funeral service, with the exception of any cemetery costs.  This is dignified death care at a price you can afford.

Low cost cremation in Atlanta

Georgia is still one of the 10 states with a lower cremation rate in the US, but the cremation trend is affecting Georgia too now.  A cremation works out much cheaper than a burial.  There are no costs for embalming, a casket, a vault or a cemetery plot – much reducing the overall spend on a funeral.

A basic, direct cremation can be arranged for $895 complete.  This does not involve any service, but a family can arrange their own service at their chapel or location of choice, once the cremated remains are returned to the family.

A direct cremation in Atlanta is by far the lowest cost funeral.  Even a cremation with a service will cost about a third of the cost of a traditional funeral.

If you need to save  money on your funeral expenses, then you need to look at what options are available in Atlanta that can help you arrange a funeral at an affordable cost.

Low cost funerals in Athens, Atlanta Metro, Columbus, Dalton & Gainesville and the counties of Fulton, Clayton, Fayette, Carroll, Paulding, Cobb, Douglas, Gwinnet, Rockdale, De Kalb, Walton, Henry, Newton, Oconee, Barrow, Cherokee, Forsyth, Harris, Talbot,  and Dawson.

So, what is ‘Direct Cremation’? And why do many in the funeral industry not want to talk about it?

Our nation is changing its death care preferences and cremation now accounts for over 50% of funerals.  This trend is set to continue, with the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) forecasting the cremation rate to reach 85% by 2035.

This is leading more families to start considering cremation, and asking questions about what options they have if they choose cremation.

What do you understand about cremation?  How does this impact on our death care choices?

A cremation is an alternative means by which to conduct the disposition of a body.  A cremation can be conducted after holding a traditional funeral service.  The cremated remains can still be interred in a cemetery plot, as you would do with a casketed body.

Cremation is proving a growing trend for a number of reasons.  The primary reason is cost.  A cremation, even with a full funeral service, works out much cheaper than a traditional burial service.  No casket, burial vault or cemetery plot is immediately required.  Even if you opt to hold a funeral service prior to cremation, many funeral homes now offer rental caskets for the purpose of the service.

Cremation questions

Another reason why cremation is gaining popularity is that it is a simpler, ‘less fuss’ option that many people are preferring today.  Who wants to spend thousands of dollars on a single funeral expense, when a dignified cremation can be conducted simply for under $2,000?

Cremation is a very final disposition of a body and therefore there are strict laws governing the authorization of a cremation.  A Cremation Authorization Form must be signed by all legal next-of-kin before a cremation can proceed.  This is largely as it is such a final act, and if there is even the slightest dispute or uncertainly amongst surviving next-of-kin, then a cremation should not go ahead.

The county also must authorize that a cremation can be conducted.  Generally, the funeral director has to obtain a permit from the county before he can cremate.

What is a direct cremation?

Direct cremation is an industry term for a cremation conducted with no ceremony or services.  The funeral director’s services are merely those to collect, complete the legal paperwork, and conduct the cremation process.  The cremated remains are then returned directly to the family.  This is the least expensive cremation option, and in many cities, can be performed for under $1,000.

The funeral industry often prefers to refer to a direct cremation as a ‘simple cremation’, a ‘basic cremation’, or ‘No ceremony cremation’.

The price for a direct cremation must be listed on a funeral home’s general price list (GPL), but you will find it listed towards the bottom of a GPL.

How much should you expect to pay for a direct cremation?

As with all funeral services, prices do vary, and this is not just by area but also according to the service providers.  A direct cremation can cost anywhere between $495 and $3,200.  A full-service funeral home will generally charge a higher fee, as they have a greater overhead to off-set.

Saving on cremation costsSome traditional funeral homes offer more affordable direct cremation, but often through a separate cremation entity that they have established to cater specifically for the market for direct cremation.

It is always wise to check a few prices to compare direct cremation costs.  But more importantly ensure you ARE comparing like-for-like packages.  Be very mindful of what is included in a price for a direct cremation.  Often third-party fees, such as death certificates, permits and sometimes even the crematory fee are not included.  Some cremation providers and funeral homes offer an inclusive direct cremation package, that may include death certificates and a simple cremation urn.

How is cremation affecting the funeral industry?

The simple truth is that cremation is revolutionizing the funeral industry, and many within the industry have either been resistant to the change, or slow to respond.  It is understandable….when a traditional burial costs in the region of $10,000-$15,000 and a cremation funeral costs around $3,500…this represents a significant decline in income and profits for a funeral home.

For the last decade or so, we have had too many funeral homes to service the death care needs of their communities.  However, many survived because conducting maybe 2 traditional funerals a month was enough to exist on, and even make some money.  Now that has changed and this is, and will continue to have, a dramatic effect on the funeral industry.

Some more progressive funeral directors, especially those who were business-minded, have responded to, and even embraced the change.  They have strategically placed their funeral business to respond to the demand for cremation, they have formulated simple and affordable cremation packages, and openly disclose their cremation prices.

Whilst others have been slower to respond.  Still hoping that cremation is a trend and the industry will return to the ‘glory’ days of elaborate (and expensive) funerals.

Cremation funeralDirect cremation is for many their least-favored request from a family, and some will still be compelled to convince a family that it is not enough.  We at DFS Memorials believe this is not true.  Direct cremation offers families a simple, efficient, convenient and affordable means to conduct funeral services.  Once the family has the cremated remains returned from the funeral director, it is simple, personal and inexpensive for the family to conduct their own memorial services (without the expense of a funeral director).

Memorial services can be held at home, in a place of worship, community center, outdoors, or just about anywhere you wish!  The shift towards Life Celebration events to memorialize allows us to use our imagination to celebrate the life of a loved one, without the somber tone long preached by the funeral industry.

Burial vs. Cremation: Things to Consider

As the US shifts towards cremation as the preferred death care choice, more families are asking questions about cremation to determine if choosing cremation is the right choice for them.

Deciding about the final disposition of a loved one can be one of the biggest decisions you make if you are charged with arranging a funeral.  If your family member did not have a funeral plan in place, or had not expressed their wishes before passing, it can be even harder to make decisions.

Cremation is the ‘buzz’ word in the funeral industry now, as we have witnessed the US shift from largely traditional burials to embracing cremation and a simpler and ‘no fuss’ death care alternative.

Cremation rates in the US

Credit: NFDA

How the cremation rate is changing

Since 2012 we have witnessed a shift towards cremation.  In 2014, the National Funeral Directors Association forecast that the cremation rate nationally would hit 77.8% by 2035.  This year they have reviewed that figure to 85%.  Many funeral homes in the DFS Memorials network report that 80% of their funerals are now cremation.

Even states that remained traditional in their death care and burial attitudes are beginning to shift to cremation options.

Why are families choosing cremation?

Although there are several reasons why families are choosing cremation, the biggest determining factor is cost.  A cremation is significantly cheaper than a traditional burial.  No casket is required, embalming is not required, and cemetery plots, vaults and fees can be eliminated.

With many Americans struggling financially, a cremation can prove a much more affordable means of conducting a disposition.

Aside from this, there is a growing trend towards simpler funeral choices.  Many Baby Boomers are just opting for a simple ‘no-fuss’ cremation.

We are now a more transient and transplant nation than ever before, with families spread across states, and even the nation.  This means that the notion of a traditional burial place no longer has quite the same meaning, and families are not able to memorialize in the same way. Many feel that cremation allows them to memorialize in a different way.

Our attitudes towards religion and the environment are also shifting, and this has impacted on death care choices.

How do burial and cremation prices compare?

An average traditional funeral costs in the region of $10,000.  A cremation can cost between $1,000 to $3,500.  Direct cremation, the least expensive cremation option, can cost between $500 – $1,000.  So, there is a significant saving if you opt for cremation.  DFS Memorials providers all offer a low-cost direct cremation to their communities.

In many cities, burial space has become limited, and therefore burial plot prices have increased.  In New York, for example, a cemetery plot alone can cost $18,000.

There are funeral providers offering very simple burial services, and even natural burial, and these can prove an inexpensive alternative to a traditional burial.

Choosing cremation

Families conducting their own memorial services

Cremation changes how we can memorialize a loved one.  There does not have to be a rush to conduct funeral services in a timely fashion before burial.  A cremation can be conducted and a memorial service held later.  This enables the family to have more control and flexibility over making funeral arrangements.

Some families still choose to inter the cremation urn, but some are beginning to seek alternative memorial options, such as ash-scattering in a memorial garden or special place; having some cremated remains made into a keepsake; or simply keeping the urn close by at home.

What should you really know if you are considering a cremation?

There are a few important considerations to make, and these are generally governed by state funeral legislation as well.

  1. Cremation is a very final disposition of remains. It eliminates all traces of DNA and any future examination of remains.  For this reason, there is certain protocol about authorizing a cremation.
  2. A cremation can only proceed when the Medical Examiner or Coroner has approved the cremation and issued a cremation permit. This is also to ensure there is no cause or concern that a cremation should not proceed.
  3. A Cremation Authorization Form must be signed by all immediate legal next of kin for a cremation to be legally conducted. If there is a dispute between siblings, a funeral provider will not proceed with cremation.
  4. In some states, there is a mandatory wait period after death before a cremation can be conducted, even if all permits and paperwork is in order. This ranges from 24-48 hours.
  5. Generally, it can take several days for a cremation to go ahead and the cremated remains available for the family. This is the time-frame for completing all necessary legal documentation, and scheduling the cremation.
  6. There are very strict protocols for crematory operators to ensure that cremation is handled in a respectful, dignified and safe manner. Rigorous ID checks are maintained throughout the process.  Only one body can be cremated in a retort, and the retort must be completely cleared before the next cremation.  Reputable funeral homes and crematories follow these protocols to the letter.  However, as cremation and a decline in profits, has hit the funeral industry there have been funeral homes cutting corners to meet their loss of income/profit.  It is always wise to select a trusted provider.  Although there are ‘budget’ cremation providers out there….cheapest is not always best!

If you still have questions about whether cremation is for you or your family, talk to your local funeral home or DFS Memorials cremation provider.  They will be happy to answer any questions you have.

Trends in cremation service

Cremation costs in 2018: How much should you expect to pay for cremation?

As cremation becomes the popular alternative to burial for more and more families across the US.  The question is being asked more frequently “How much should a cremation cost?”

Whilst deciding whether cremation is for you can be a personal choice about death care alternatives, for many the price of cremation can be a determining factor in their decision.

It is important to realize that prices for cremation can vary considerably.  Prices vary depending on the cremation service provider and dependent on your location.

Many major city areas offer more competitive cremation prices, where rural areas, and certain states tend to be more expensive overall.

Saving on cremation costsSo, what should you expect to pay for a cremation?

The first thing you need to consider is the type of cremation service you require.  If you are opting for a funeral service, followed by cremation, then prices begin in the range of $2,000 – $3,000.

This is significantly cheaper than typical funeral burial prices, which can be upwards of $4,000 (without including cemetery fees).

What is the least expensive cremation service?

A direct cremation is the least expensive cremation service you can opt for.  The term ‘direct cremation’ refers to where there is no ceremony or services offered by the funeral home or crematory.  The deceased is collected from the place of death, sheltered whilst all required paperwork is completed. In some states a mandatory wait period is in force before the cremation can be performed.  The cremation is conducted and the cremated remains returned directly to the family.

As the funeral director offers basic services to facilitate a direct cremation, this can be offered at a base price.  Direct cremation ranges from $495 to $1,795, again depending on your locality.

Comparing direct cremation costs by city

Listed below is an example of direct cremation costs in major cities in the United States.  This data is extracted from DFS Memorials network of affordable cremation providers and Parting funeral price survey website.

City Lowest direct cremation cost Highest direct cremation cost
Chicago, IL $975 $4,600
Dallas, TX $755 $6,300
Fort Myers, FL $795 $2,200
Houston, TX $675 $6,800
Indianapolis, IN $850 $6,100
Las Vegas, NV $495 $2,240
Los Angeles, CA $625 $2,900
Louisville, KY $795 $3,390
Miami, FL $596 $2,340
Nashville, TN $995 $4,400
New Orleans, LA $1,550 $2,930
Phoenix, AZ $639 $2,370
Pittsburgh, PA $695 $3,895
Salt Lake City, UT $750 $2,595

What does a direct cremation price quoted include?

Generally, a price for a direct cremation on a funeral home GPL or website will include:

  • Collection of the deceased from place of death (may be an additional fee if residential collection)
  • Shelter of the deceased for a specified number of days (additional days may incur additional fees)
  • A cremation container
  • Services of the funeral director to complete all required paperwork (death cert. permits etc)
  • The cremation process
  • A temporary cremation urn for returning the remains to the family

What additional fees may I incur on a direct cremation?

Third-party fees are generally additional to a direct cremation price.  These are the cost for death certificates and if a fee must be paid for a cremation permit or medical examiner.

Other additional expenses could be:

  • Collection from a residential address as opposed to a hospital, morgue or nursing home.
  • Barometric charges if the deceased is overweight.
  • Selection of a cremation casket
  • Selection of a cremation urn
  • Arranging a private family viewing prior to cremation

What do I do with the cremated remains once they are returned?

This is another question that families frequently ask.  As more families choose direct cremation, they want to do something with the cremation ashes when they are returned to them by the funeral home.  Memorial services and Life Celebration Ceremonies are growing in popularity.

The great thing about direct cremation is that aside from being a more affordable cremation option, is that the family can then conduct their own memorial service at a time and place of their choosing.

What about scattering the cremation ashes?

Scattering ashes is now being either requested, or conducted, by families who do not want to inter remains and feel that scattering a loved one’s remains in a special place is a more befitting final resting place.

Several direct cremation providers now offer packages where, for a small additional fee, they will scatter your loved one’s ashes for you.

Cremation Plans:  Think ahead and be prepared

The NFDA has put “cremation as the chosen form of disposition for almost 80% of American deaths by 2035”.  This means more and more of us WILL be choosing cremation for our final disposition.   As the cost of a direct cremation is often less than $1,000, this makes it a simple and affordable solution for many families today.

To better understand your options, it is wise to do some research and be aware of what direct cremation prices are in your city.  Those providers that offer pre-need cremation plans often add a premium to their at-need cremation price to allow for inflation etc.

However, you can preplan without the need to prepay a cremation provider by selecting the cremation provider you wish to handle the service, and ensuring certain things are in place.  You can pre-sign your own ‘cremation authorization form’ and have this lodged with the provider in advance.  You can set aside the required funds in a POD bank account that a beneficiary can gain instant access to in the event of death of the account holder.  You can read more about this on US Funerals Online at What is my best and safest option for putting aside money for a funeral?

 

Cremation now the most popular disposition choice for Americans

2016 marked the year that more cremations were conducted than burials.  Last year 50.2% of dispositions were cremations.  This is a huge shift in the funeral industry and a significant change in tradition.

Why are more Americans choosing cremation?  There are several reasons cited, but by far the most common reason is COST.  Economical conditions for the majority of Americans mean that the days of elaborate and costly traditional burials are over.

Cremation costs A traditional burial would cost anywhere in the region of $10,000 – $20,000 depending upon the cost of the casket and cemetery plot.  If the deceased had not made any pre-need funeral plan, and surviving family are left to fork out for the funeral, then spending tens of thousands of dollars is just NOT an option.

CNN reported in 2015 that 76% of Americans were living paycheck to paycheck.  And these are the folks that cannot afford the sudden ‘disruption’ to their finances of an unexpected expenditure such as a funeral.

And let’s face the harsh reality which is that there really is NO financing for a funeral. Seriously who is going to lend money based upon having no means to ‘re-possess’ the goods?!!

Affordable cremationSo for many Americans cremation has just entered the scene as the ONLY viable affordable alternative to conduct a funeral.

A cremation service will cost you within the region of $3,000 – $4000.

This is a full service funeral but with a cremation conducted after the service.

A cremation memorial where the deceased is first cremated and then a memorial service held with the cremated remains costs less than a full-service cremation.

A cremation memorial is likely to cost in the region of $1,500 – $2,500.

For those families that can only afford the bare minimum, or for those families that do not desire any services whatsoever, then a direct cremation is the solution.  A direct cremation is where the funeral home and/or crematory simply handle conducting the cremation of the deceased and returning the remains to the family.

A direct cremation costs anywhere in the region of $425 – $1,595 depending on the city, location and provider.  The cost for a direct cremation does vary geographically.  For example, Las Vegas NV is probably the cheapest place to purchase a direct cremation and Lafayette LA is one of the most expensive for a direct cremation.

It is always wise to check cremation prices from more than one funeral home or cremation service provider.  You will quickly discover that the cost for a cremation service can vary, even for the exact same service.

If cost is king for you and you want to arrange a low-cost direct cremation and keep your funeral costs to a minimum, then DFS Memorials can help you.  DFS Memorials is a network of local, independent funeral homes all offering an affordable direct cremation package.  We conducted extensive price comparison research to recruit a local cremation provider that represented best value in quality and price for a simple direct cremation.

Use the state links on the right-hand side to find your nearest DFS Memorials provider and discover the affordable cost for a direct cremation in your area.

Cremation may be the only option if you wish to be laid to rest in NYC

A number of recent news stories have exposed the issue now facing many New Yorkers when making funeral arrangements – the lack of burial space!  With such a built-up area around New York City, and with over 60, 000+ deaths a year, the allotted space in cemeteries is just running out.  It’s turning out that a cemetery real estate plot can now work out just as desired-after, and just as expensive, as Manhattan real estate!  According to the NY Times ‘City Cemeteries Face Gridlock’ article, a mausoleum space can cost as much as $3 million, with burial space in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx costing more than $1,000 per square foot!

DFS Memorials offer an affordable direct cremation price of $475

Call NOW on for immediate assistance

Brooklyn : (718) 395-3211      Bronx : (718) 285-6565    Queens : (718) 395-3142

Staten Island : (718) 395-3142     Manhattan : (212) 381-6243

New Yorkers can still be interred in Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island, but burial space is so limited, that officials are predicting that cremation will become the preferred option for those who want a final resting place in the city.  Most of the cemeteries in New York City are now focusing on how they can add above-ground mausoleums to offer extended space for burials and even increase the space for cremation niches.

Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn still has some space left, but it is expected this will run out within the next 10 years.  Cypress Hills Cemetery in Brooklyn and Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx both report a similar problem, although they believe some creative utilization of space, may enable them to continue offering burial plots for at least another 20 years.  Canarsie Cemetery now plans to build an extensive ‘city’ of mausoleums in an attempt to add 10,000 new burial spaces to the cemetery.

New York City cemeteries have had to become as inventive as possible in creating additional interment space, narrowing pathways and creating smaller family or joint plots.  The Division of Cemeteries that governs cemeteries allows them to reclaim plots that have remained unused for 75 years if they have had no contact from the family who purchased the plot.  Cemeteries can even buy back sold plots that families no longer want.  Maybe not surprising then that the Division has been approached by families wanting to disinter their parents to sell the plots.  When a plot at Woodlawn can be valued at anything between $6,995 and $1.6 million, this is becoming the lucrative real estate of the 21st century for many cash-poor New Yorkers.

When a cremation can be performed within New York City for as little $475, including the crematory fee, it simply makes cremation the most affordable option.  For those New Yorkers that still want NYC to be their final resting place, then a small cremation niche may be a solution, or maybe an ash scattering.  Those New Yorkers who absolutely want to be buried, may have to turn to the suburbs, upstate New York or even New Jersey, where more burial space is available and at an affordable cost.

As the little burial space there is continues to run out, the prices for cemetery plots in New York is likely to increase.  If you are a New Yorker that holds an unused cemetery deed, this could turn out to have been a lucrative investment.  However, if you want to be buried in your city, but do not yet own a gravesite, you may find your options limited.

Who are Heritage Cremation Provider?

Heritage Cremation Provider are an online national website offering cremation services between $695 and $1,395.  They give the appearance of being a local company when in fact they are just acting as ‘middle men’ and do not actually operate a funeral home.

heritage-cremation-providerHow do Heritage Cremation Provider operate?

Heritage are NOT funeral directors or a funeral establishment.  They are registered in Colorado which happens to be the only state in the USA that does not require a funeral home to have a license to operate.  They handle the inquiry from a family and coordinate cremation services by doing trade services through a local funeral home.  In the majority of areas where we conducted research, Heritage would be charging a family more than the local funeral home would have charged the family.  But at no time do they handle the deceased’s body.  They require payment upfront yet several of the funeral homes they work with report that it can take several weeks or more before they receive their trade payment.

Should you trust Heritage?

The company has had so many complaints about its level of service that the Better Business Bureau (BBB) has an alert warning about the company and has ranked it as a grade D.  If you visit the BBB website you can view the complaints lodged against Heritage Cremation Provider.

BBB :  http://www.bbb.org/southern-colorado/business-reviews/business-and-trade-organizations/heritage-cremation-provider-in-colorado-springs-co-87352250

Complaints lodged against Heritage Cremation Provider record families who paid the upfront fee but have had trouble obtaining the cremated remains of their loved one or trouble obtaining death certificates.

In May 2015 the attorney for the Florida Department of Financial Services filed a cease-and-desist order against Heritage Provider LLC to prevent the company selling cremation services in Florida.

There are numerous other states where the Attorney General is pushing through legislation to prevent Heritage operating as they are in their state.  Several states funeral boards have also advised their members not to work with Heritage Cremation Provider.

Also note: Heritage Cremation Provider also trade as Legacy Funeral Services.  Both web sites offer the same kind of online service where the cremations are simply sent to a trade cremation service in the locality for a nominal fee, whilst the family pays a full upfront fee to the online company.

Further reading:

Article in Gazette – Southern Colorado BBB warns of cremation companies practices

Funeral Homes Failure to Disclose Funeral Costs

The funeral industry operates like no other industry I know.  In today’s consumer marketplace cost is a principle. Maybe not cost alone but certainly a combination of cost and value.  It is highly unlikely that you would make a consumer purchase without asking the question “how much”?

funeral-pricesYet the funeral industry expects us to make funeral arrangements (once the fourth biggest expenditure you will make in a lifetime) without being concerned about what our bottom line is going to be.  Not only can many funeral locations be evasive about disclosing prices to us if we inquire (although legally they are bound to do so), they can bombard us with so many irrelevant questions about our requirements that it can be overwhelming at a distressing time!

The latest Funeral Consumers Alliance (FCA) survey in conjunction with the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) has highlighted yet again just how non-compliant the industry is with the Federal Trade Commission’s ‘funeral rule’ which requires them to disclose prices.

2015 Funeral Costs Survey

The FCA and CFA recently surveyed 150 funeral homes in 10 metro areas to discover that despite legislation put in place to protect consumers, only 1 in 4 funeral homes are readily disclosing funeral costs on their websites.  According to the FCA and CFA survey another 29% provided prices upon an email request and a further 29% divulged their prices after receiving an email and then a phone call.  16% of funeral homes surveyed did not provide any pricing information, or provided it only if a customer visited the funeral home.

The survey also highlighted the variation between itemized prices for funeral services and how dramatically these can vary, sometimes by as much as 3 times as much for the exact same service.

At DFS Memorials we have undertaken numerous funeral price comparison surveys to enable us to locate the best value direct cremation or direct burial.  We have encountered the same resistance by many funeral locations to disclose cremation prices.

An industry resisting change….and consumer demand!

The funeral industry has been criticized for its slowness and unwillingness to embrace change.  The ‘dinosaur’ that could be prone to extinction as it continues to ignore consumer demand.  This survey exemplifies how despite the more progressive funeral companies who have adapted to the changes affecting the industry, there are still funeral businesses locked in a times-past.

save-on-cremation-costsCremation is probably the biggest change to face this industry in the last century, and could be likened to a snowball in its growth since 2008.  Families are voting with their feet that they simply cannot or will not pay thousands of dollars to lay a loved one to rest anymore.

Direct cremation is revolutionizing a once very stoic industry, and direct cremation scares many funeral business to death!!  A direct cremation requires the most minimal of services from a funeral director and is his least expensive service option.  Understandably many long-standing funeral homes with large overheads and fleets of vehicles are facing very troubling times.

To the funeral consumer a direct cremation means a funeral bill of typically less than $1,000 (in most metro areas).  To the funeral home owner this means a steep drop in profit-margin.

So….do your homework and compare prices.  As this recent survey uncovered, this is a mine-field to tread through.  If you are researching ahead of time this gives you an advantage, but coming new to making arrangements at a time of need can be very distressing and completely overwhelming.  As a guide DFS Memorials is here to help you.  We have an extensive network of low cost cremation providers across the United States and guarantee to offer you disclosure of direct cremation costs.  We hope to provide some light and guidance through your dark path, and make laying a loved one to rest a task that may be painful, but not end up costing you more than you can afford.

Funeral Poverty Crisis Affecting Families

indigent-funeral-assistanceRecent reports in the news are attempting to highlight the growing concern about thousands of families that are too poor today to afford a funeral.  A report from the UK claims that those unable to pay for a funeral has skyrocketed by 80% in the last 10 years, and this issue is no different here in the United States.  According to a CBS report in 2011 48% of Americans fell into the bracket of low-income or poverty.  This is a staggering percentage of Americans that find themselves struggling with everyday living costs…never mind dealing with an unexpected, or unprepared for, death in the family.

Every day at DFS Memorials we receive calls from families desperate and distraught as they try and find their way through the process of taking care of a lost loved one without sufficient means to really pay for a funeral.

So what happens if you do not have the money to pay for a funeral?

There are very limited resources available to help those families with insufficient resources to pay for a funeral.  Some states do provide some level of support and some do not.  In some states there is devolved funding at county level.  If you are on any kind of state-assisted welfare or benefits you may qualify for some limited assistance.

In most cases it is likely that you will have to arrange the lowest cost type of funeral that the funds will assist with.  This will mean arranging a basic cremation or a simple burial with minimal funeral services.

Will the State help you cover funeral costs?

If you are fortunate enough to be in a state or county that does offer some assistance, you will find that it does only cover a limited amount.  There is also generally a limitation of the level of family contribution. i.e. you cannot claim funds for an indigent funeral and then have family members all contribute funds.  Use this table for a state by state breakdown of what is available to assist families with an indigent burial.

Bear in mind that although most states still refer to ‘indigent burial programs’ in many states only cremation is now offered as this is far more economical and helps the state, or county, use their budget effectively.

What are the implications of accepting state assistance for a funeral?

When you turn to the state or municipal to pay for a funeral, then you cannot expect the full range of services or much autonomy over what kind of services are available.  In some cases only a basic direct cremation or direct burial is offered as a public aid disposition.

There are also limitations on how much family members can contribute towards the overall funeral cost.

What if the deceased had no life insurance, and surviving family have no money to pay for the funeral?

If there is no life insurance to meet funeral expenses, and you do not qualify for any kind of public assistance, you will have to meet a decision about how to meet any funeral costs.  As mentioned a basic cremation can be conducted in most areas for around $800.  If family can rally round, and make contributions, it may be possible to pool funds and meet a basic disposition.  A simple family memorial service, or ash-scattering service, can be held once the cremated remains are back with the family.

To read more about what options you have to arrange a low-cost funeral service, read this article on Indigent Burial Assistance and assistance for funeral funding.